Update: Oil Spill Clean-Up Efforts Intensify; Oil Found at North Indian River Inlet Beach


UPDATED – 10/25/20 7:30am – An oil spill last week off the Delaware coast is under investigation by DNREC and the US Coast Guard. Oily globs have been washing up on area beaches from the upper Delaware Beach to now – the North Indian River Inlet Beach, according to DNREC beach monitoring. Friday, Governor John Carney met with officials at Slaughter Beach for an update on the spill and the investigation. Multiple agencies are involved in the clean up – which has also affected area wildlife and birds. While not all beaches are closed – officials urge you to watch where you and your pets walk – and if you detect oil on the beach – call the DNREC environmental hotline at 1-800-662-8802.


Days after the first signs of an oil spill on Delaware Bay, the source of the spill that’s deposited blobs of oil onto the beaches is still unknown.

Delaware Natural Resources Secretary Shawn Garvin said during an interview with WGMD News Friday that the clean-up has involved dozens of contractors. More than 125 environmental professionals with DNREC, the Coast Guard, other agencies and contractors are expected to be involved in the ongoing clean-up.

“We continue to mobilize our expert resources as the tides spread oil from the beaches back into the water and back on the beach,” Garvin said. “We are combing the beaches and, shovel by shovel, removing the tar balls and contaminated sand.”

Thursday, the Delaware Bay and River Cooperative dispatched an oil-skimming vessel. As of early Friday, about 21 tons of polluted sand and debris had been removed. Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research has also been treating oiled waterfowl.

“We are grateful for our interagency collaboration with DelDOT and for the help from the Delaware Bay and River Cooperative enabling us take the cleanup onto the water,” Garvin added.

Update from Dewey Beach Friday afternoon:


The Town of Dewey Beach was recently notified by the State of Delaware about an incident involving a possible oil spill in the Delaware Bay and Atlantic Ocean. There is currently little verifiable information as to the source. Dewey Beach does have coagulated tar balls on the beach. DNREC has been notified and will work on cleaning the beach along with the other coastal towns. As of now our beach will be closed until further notice. DNREC has a Public Hotline number if you have any information regarding the spill. The number is 1-800-662-8802. We will keep you updated. Mayor Dale H. Cooke

Lewes beaches remained closed to the public for a second straight day. DNREC has closed the 4-wheel drive surf fishing crossing at Delaware Beach Plum Island Preserve.

As the clean-up continues, DNREC and the Coast Guard strongly discourage members of the public from handling any oily deposits that they find. Also, they should not try to help any affected wildlife they may encounter. Any sightings or incidents should be reported to the DNREC Environmental Hotline at 800-662-8802.